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A Girl Walks into a Bar…

Two identical women screaming at each other, isolated on black background.

OK … so it wasn’t really a bar, it was Panera. But it certainly felt like a bar from the moment I sat down… glasses clanging, silverware clinking, people hustling to grab a table…. it was a loud and busy lunch hour.

The “bar” noise, however, only turned out to be elevator background music compared to the Bar Brawl I accidentally sat next to! Sadly, it quickly became apparent that the four women loudly arguing were discussing funeral arrangements for their recently deceased father. I think I would have felt sadness for the four immediately if I’d sensed any sadness in them at all.

Instead, they were consumed with violent anger and yelling at each other in such a way that I couldn’t look away. I really couldn’t. I was supposed to be lunching with my son and discussing a new car he wanted to buy… but my eyes and ears would have none of it – they were absolutely glued to this train wreck of a unplanned family reunion.

From what I could tell… the crux of the breakdown came over the flowers and the casket… 3 of them wanted the more expensive flowers and 3 of them wanted the more expensive casket (2 of them were apparently absent but “on their way”) and there was something about a mysterious lock box I was never able to really discern. But it became so heated at one point two of them were standing and yelling at each other across the table. Eventually one stormed out…. and then came back with another sister… they argued more… and subsequently, three of them stormed out together telling the remaining sisters they could just do the funeral on their own. (IMHO The three that stormed out were, ironically, the more reasonable of the bunch and had had it with the one tyrannical sister being rude, bossy and generally horrible to everyone)

Though I was captivated by what was happening, and (I’m embarrassed to admit) found myself half-hoping for a throw down, I actually was very heartbroken for them. I kept wanting to jump up and scream…”STOP IT! STOP IT STOP IT! Don’t you all realize he’d DEAD?! He doesn’t care about flowers or caskets or funeral arrangements and even if he DID, he would care far MORE about how you are all treating one another!”

Now I know that grief takes us to ugly and difficult places and it’s not surprising to find this kind of family breakdown during what is clearly an emotionally charged time. But being a fly on the wall today gave me the kind of perspective I needed to remember an important lesson I hope I’ll hang on to in my own dark days of loss. Ready for this? Here it is…

HOW we disagree with people is FAR MORE important than WHAT we disagree about. Said another way, PEOPLE are always more important than positions, projects, politics, possessions, prizes or any other thing that does or does not begin with P! It’s important that we make people (especially those closest to us) feel that way… even when we disagree.

How does this have anything at all to do with my voiceover business? I’ve been asking myself that same question all afternoon and all I could come up with is this… today’s drama also reminded me never to yell when I’m angry (or happy, for that matter) because it’s not only damaging to our relationships and our souls (anger yelling, that is) but also to the vocal folds!

There you have it – two great tips for the price of none! Can’t beat that with a stick, now can ya?!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear?!